At EC12, the International Erosion Control Association’s annual conference, in Las Vegas last week, Greg Schaner of EPA’s Office of Wastewater Management discussed some key points of the newly released general permit fro construction-site discharges. He fielded questions from the audience at the conference’s general session and explained how EPA decided on some of the permit’s provisions.
The permit is as notable for what it doesn’t include as for what it does: You won’t find a numeric limit for construction-site discharges anywhere in it. Although the permit, for the first time, does incorporate EPA’s construction effluent guidelines, which were published in 2009, EPA had to stay the numeric limit of 280 nephelometric turbidity units (NTUs) last year because of problems with the way that number had been calculated.
The permit does, however, incorporate other provisions of the effluent guidelines, including its erosion and sediment control provisions for natural buffers, sediment discharge controls, and soil stabilization. It also contains some wording on the use of treatment chemicals to reduce turbidity in discharge; when EPA was considering a numeric limit, it expected that the use of chemicals would increase, and looked at toxicity risk for some of the more common chemicals. Essentially the permit calls for using the smallest effective amount of such chemicals to minimize risks to the aquatic environment, as well as for proper training for operators and for use of conventional erosion and sediment controls before and after chemical application.
I’ll be expanding on the permit, and on Schaner’s comments, in the upcoming May issue of Erosion Control.
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March 8th, 2012
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March 15th, 2012
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March 22nd, 2012
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